Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: February ::
Re: Machiavelli
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0501  Thursday, 21 February 2002

[1]     From:           Sam Small <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:           Wednesday, 20 Feb 2002 13:53:58 -0000
        Subj:           Re: SHK 13.0485 Machiavelli

[2]     From:           Mike Jensen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:           Wednesday, 20 Feb 2002 08:12:27 -0800
        Subj:           Re: SHK 13.0485 Machiavelli

[3]     From:           Jill Phillips <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:           Thursday, 21 Feb 2002 09:04:40 -0500
        Subj:           Re: SHK 13.0485 Machiavelli


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Feb 2002 13:53:58 -0000
Subject: 13.0485 Machiavelli
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0485 Machiavelli

Martin Steward well notes the importance of Machiavelli in Shakespeare's
works, and others, in Elizabethan times.  In my view "The Prince" is
probably the most important book I have read and would support its
compulsory insertion into every school curriculum wherever there are
schools on the planet.  Machiavelli did not invent 'real politic' he
merely reported the methods of diplomats of the most successful
governments in the world from Alexander to his present day.  As he says,
those Princes (politicians/diplomats) who wish to be good, noble and
honest are crushed by their enemies and their country thrown into
terrible chaos.  Lie, cheat, torture, ruin reputations, break your
solemn word, murder and blame others for the deed - all is permissible
in the struggle to keep the nation state intact and your people free to
enjoy their business and leisure.  And so it is today.  All successful
governments including Japan, USA, Britain and Europe conduct their
affairs in this manner to keep us all in the lifestyle we know as free
democratic consumerism.

If indeed Shakespeare was an old style idealistic Catholic and came to
know the ugly politics in the Elizabethan court (and the benefits that
came from it) - then he must have had a real crisis of faith.  This
comes out in a tirade in sonnet 66 and in sonnet 71 when dead will flee
from this "vile world".  But this political vileness is never expressed
more clearly than that in Hamlet where "Prince" Hamlet tries to do the
good thing and bring justice to Claudius.  But the truth is that his
uncle Claudius' reign is successful, whilst his father was a poor
leader.  The truth of this drives Hamlet mad.  In the chaos of the
ending when indeed Claudius is killed, Denmark is invaded and brought to
its knees.

Within "The Prince" lies the world's most awful truth.  The blurb on my
copy of "The Prince" says that this book still shocks.  It does.

SAM SMALL

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Feb 2002 08:12:27 -0800
Subject: 13.0485 Machiavelli
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0485 Machiavelli

I thank Martin Stewart and Bill Arnold for their learned comments about
Shakespeare and Machiavelli.  I see nothing in them that argues Virgil
Whittaker was wrong.  (Martin was not arguing this.  I'm not sure if
Arnold was or not.  His first and last paragraphs seemed at odds with
each other.  A clarification is welcome.)

Mike Jensen

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jill Phillips <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 21 Feb 2002 09:04:40 -0500
Subject: 13.0485 Machiavelli
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0485 Machiavelli

The stage machiavel was of course a stock character throughout
Renaissance drama, and its development is interesting to note once it
reaches comedy.  While machiavels in tragedy truly endanger the body
politic, like R III or Iago, authors of comedies use the name of
"machiavel" to signal merely commercial and social self-interest.  In
the mouths of characters who represent the virtuous country values of
the gentry, the slur implicates the greedy urban financier.  And the
name is used as a term of admiration by aspiring gullers.  When Juniper,
in Jonson's The Case is Altered (1597) calls Rachel "sweet Machiavel"
(2.554), the name refers to her skills as a crafty, subtle woman.  In
Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor (1600), the Host offers a series of
synonyms, "Am I politic?  Am I subtle?  Am I a Machiavel?" (3.1.102).
Massinger's projector in A New Way to Pay Old Debts (1621), Sir Giles
Overreach, is described in terms Machiavelli reserved for his Prince, as
"both a lion and a fox."  And Jonson uses the word "machiavel" in The
Magnetic Lady (1632) to describe the political schemer Bias, "cut from
the quar/of Machiavel."  The name "Machiavel" also implicated the
aspirant to political sophistication who fails.  Characters wanting to
impress with their worldliness use it self-referentially.  In Volpone
(1606) Sir Politick Would-be advises Peregrine on how to be a savvy
Italian traveller, telling him to profess no religion, and to adhere
only to the local laws, adding that "Nic. Machiavel, and Monsier Bodin,
both/Were of this mind" (4.1.375).  Beaumont and Fletcher parody the
machiavellian villain in the character of Lucio in The Woman Hater
(1606), who in his attempts to be a successful secretary, boasts that
"my foreflap hangs in the right place, and as neare Machiavels, as can
be gathered by tradition" (5.1.29-31).

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.